New Zealand to launch govt-backed online ID scheme

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New Zealand to launch govt-backed online ID scheme

Touts privacy and security.

Kiwis will be able to apply for a new online identity verification service starting July 1, with the government promising high levels of security and privacy.

Called RealMe, the voluntary service is run by the Department of Internal Affairs and New Zealand Post. 

The identity verification will last five years and can be used for financial services such as obtaining a mortgage from a bank without physically having to visit a branch to sign documents.

As the RealMe service is backed by the New Zealand government, it offers stronger levels of security and identity verification than is currently available for online transactions. It will among other things help banks and financial institutions to comply with new due diligence requirements under the country's anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism laws.

The drawcard for individual RealMe users is that they will have access to a larger range of services online that is currently possible.

Users who enrol with RealMe will have full control over access to the data used for the service; the data itself will not be stored in a central RealMe database, but remain in others such as the NZ register of births and deaths.

The NZ Electronic Identity Verification Act, which establishes financial penalties for misuse and which came into force in December last year is the foundation for the RealMe service, which has been set up with the involvement of the Privacy Commissioner's Office.

RealMe will also replace the present iGovt single login service that provides access to many New Zealand government services like tax, healthcare and social welfare. People with existing iGovt logins will have these converted to RealMe accounts.

The NZ government has not listed which private organisations and businesses have signed up for RealMe but said central and local government agencies will use it from July this year.

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